Acts 4:1-6
Acts 4:1 (KJB)
And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
Peter and John had now been speaking to the crowd for quite a while which means that probably no one had gone into the temple to attend the service. It must have been a couple of hours now so the leaders of the Temple had now decided to come outside and see what was keeping the people. The Captain of the Temple was the person who was next in rank to the High Priest. So these leaders had come to the place where they were speaking. “Coming upon them” means they had approached the place where they were speaking. Now Peter and John were speaking about the resurrection and it is interesting that the Scripture states that along with the chief priests, the Sadducees came out. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection or angels. (Acts 23:8 KJV) For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.
Acts 4:2 (KJB)
Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
Grieved - Greatly disturbed or annoyed
When the leaders had come out they found that Peter and John were teaching the people. This would have created a challenge to their authority since they were the ones who were supposed to be the teachers of Israel. (John 3:10 KJV) Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Remember the conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus? Jesus called him a teacher or master of Israel. The fact that they were teaching was bad enough but when they heard that the resurrection of the dead came through the Lord Jesus Christ, this would have greatly disturbed the Sadducees who disbelieved any resurrection. The leaders knew that they had put Jesus to death and no doubt heard that He was resurrected but now the disciples are teaching this right in the courtyard of the Temple and this would have caused great problems for the leaders. They thought that they were rid of Jesus but now the ministry of His followers had just begun.
Acts 4:3 (KJB)
And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.
To prevent any more preaching, they arrested Peter and John and placed them in jail. Since it was probably about 6 PM, it would have too late to gather the Sanhedrin together, so they held them till the next day when they would be able to examine them and their teachings more fully plus it would be easier to assemble the entire group.
Acts 4:4 (KJB)
Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
This verse tells us that the preaching of Peter and John had a tremendous effect on those who heard. We read that five thousand men, and the word in the Greek is for “man or male,” which means that women and children would have increased that number. It was now too late for the leaders to try and stop the spread of the Gospel because it had now begun. So far we read that there were eight thousand that believed the Gospel and now that crowd will take the Gospel to the entire country of Israel and beyond its borders. The crowd in attendance who were witnesses to the healing of the crippled man must have been much bigger than five thousand because it states “many” believed, not “all” believed.
Acts 4:5 (KJB)
And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,
Luke starts out explaining that this was not just a group of a few but it seems that every single leader associated with the Temple, had now gathered.
Acts 4:6 (KJB)
And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
Annas is called the High Priest but his reign had ended in 15 AD. Caiaphas was the son in law of Annas and was the reigning High Priest until 36 AD. The name “John” might be the shortened name for Jonathan who was the son of Annas and had served as High Priest for about 3 years after the term of Annas. The person “Alexander” is not known but I think it is interesting that the name “Alexander” is of Greek origin and this person would not have been a Jew with that name but we read here that many of the kindred or family of the High Priest were gathered at Jerusalem. Maybe this Alexander married into the family of Caiaphas or Annas and was a convert to Judaism and may have been influential in some manner and that is why he was there. I seriously doubt that the Sanhedrin would allow an uncircumcised Greek to attend the Temple services, never mind take part as a leader. So here Peter and John were facing the same group that eight weeks before had put Jesus to death.